Have you all seen Lisa Mulvenna’s Car Day? When I read this months ago, I immediately flagged it as something that would be perfect for my library, and this summer brought just the right opportunity. I had less than .50 cent for each child each week this summer, so this program was perfect. With a little help, I procured 70 big boxes for free and then just bought some painter’s tape, paper plates, brads, and dollar store duct tape. Even sharing supplies between three programs at two branches, I was well under budget.
So here’s what you need:
Either masking tape or painter’s tape
Supplies for decorating
For decorating, I put out lots of sheets of colored paper (found unused in office) for covering boxes, markers, crayons, duct tape for making stripes, glue bottles, paper plates for wheels, and brads for putting them on.
In one branch, I had plenty of space for creating supply stations around the track, but in the other, the track took up almost the whole room, so I only had space for a few stations on the floor. I had room for a table there, so here’s what the set-up looked like.
As kids came in, they picked up a box and I showed them the example. Then they moved on to the table where they could pick up some supplies to get them started.
They could then find some space on the floor to start working on their cars. Here are a couple of the areas I made on the floor.
In my smaller branch, the decorating was a little bit precarious because we wound up having around 35 kids in the room that was already a little too small. This made getting to the stations and supplies harder, but everyone really worked together and helped each other. One grandmother was completely overwhelmed and seemed to shut down, not able to help her two grandkids, but the family next to her just chipped in and helped the kids. It was really nice to watch families interact with each other and build on each other’s ideas.
I let them decorate for about 30 mins and then instructed everyone to help me clear the track for racing. Kids stood inside their big boxes, picked them up, and held them as they ran around the track. Older kids weren’t so interested in this part, but they still loved making the car. Lots of kids drove them right out of the library that night.
Overall, it was great fun. My bigger branch had no problems at all and they loved the program. Families at the smaller one thanked me for the quality time with their kids and helping them mingle with other kids over the summer. So if you need a cheap program, get thyself some tape and boxes.